Notes from the Island
September 2003

It's great to be back on the Island, and as I sit here and drink my coffee and watch an Osprey circle overhead, I think of how lucky I am and what a whirlwind of a month it's been.

Early this past month I took advantage of some of my vacation time and flew out to Albuquerque, NM. It was my first time traveling to that part of the country and I really loved it. There are ten thousand-foot peaks right outside of town! I spent a beautiful day climbing in one of the many canyons of granite there. It was amazing to reach the top and find that it's thirty degrees cooler than down in the valley below. The Sandia Mts. were a great place to climb and hike, and I found some ancient fossils in the limestone at the very top! Sea creatures at 10,000 feet! New Mexico is full of interesting geological sites, volcanoes, lava flows, ice caves, and some amazing archeological sites as well. I saw the Rio Grande, it looked like there was just barely enough water to float a canoe down it, but I never got the chance. Maybe next time. I wonder if there are any caretaker's jobs in Albuquerque on the Rio Grande.

I'm back from my vacation now and slowly readjusting to my rigorous life on the island. David and Sea, who stayed on the island while I was gone, send their regards. I think they really enjoyed themselves and enjoyed meeting all of you. I'm glad I found relief-caretakers that appreciate the island and all it's subtle beauty.

The island is beautiful now. The jewel-weed are standing over six feet tall and are finally blooming. I saw a red cardinal flower surrounded by yellow woodland sunflowers and wild blue phlox. I've also seen many birds since my return. I noticed that the beaver chewed off the last two limbs of the small cherry tree that was planted down by the captain's float. Judging by all the beaver trails I'm seeing they must be frequent visitors to the island. It's fun to look for tracks in the mud along the shore. I've seen raccoon, green heron, great blue heron, killdeer, ducks, geese and beaver tracks.

The girls are also back from their vacation and have been in school since August 26, so summer is officially over. But the swimming in the river is still good and the weather is perfect for canoeing. We heard the fishing derby was a success and we were sorry we missed it. We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the Regatta!

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker